Antagonizing Human Resources

Human Resources retired the objector, forcibly

Human resources do a body goodThe absence of democracy on a ship shouldn’t be surprising. But the absence of it from a spaceship on a thousand year journey may be.

There’s also no captain, not since the human resources department took over.

They’re a major antagonist for my Destiny Exodus series.

Having human resources a villain in my book can be confusing. I try to mitigate by naming the leadership committee  superman, because it is made up of supervisors and managers. Superman ensures that passengers are happy and compliant with the rules of the ship.

Torture to make a martyrSuperman knows best. If you disagree, human resources will take you for an ethical lesson. If you still disagree, it becomes enhanced ethical training. If that doesn’t work, then prepare to be retired early.

They are quite insidious. Small reductions in liberties over time add up to totalitarianism.

They are not clear evil, but certainly they serve themselves before the ship.

 “History is written by the victors.”

In my book the human resources department rewrites history to preempt rebellious thought in the youth. This flies in the face of the established values of Pravidians, truth and privacy.

The curriculum gets turned into a Texas textbook but with “evolving truth”.

An excerpt from Destiny’s Hand, Deputy Manager of Human Resources speaking about adjustments to history curriculum:

“Human resources, medical, and maintenance came together to save the ship and the hope of our people. The demons were banished, the Ortomen absorbed, their ghosts pocketed, and our wayward military were disarmed and put to work making up for the near catastrophe they caused.”

He continues:

“As teachers you should practice using and reinforcing these as shown. Please do provide suggestions and feedback. We can only move forward as a team.

“Really, any concerns please let us know. We really may make valued tweaks because of your input.”

“La plus belle des ruses du diable est de vous persuader qu’il n’existe pas.”

It is challenging writing stories where the “bad guys” are amorphous antagonists. It is much easier to make a serial killer or demonic evil that makes anyone else shine bright in contrast.

My protagonists don’t shine bright. I think gritty truth can tell a story better than pretty prose.

As this book is part of a larger story, I reference a larger power struggle throughout that the Destiny Hand’s main protagonists are merely a part of rather than a driving force.

I try to build a feeling of a devilish manipulator that itches at the edge of vision, but is never seen. A very tricky thing to do for a first book.

I hope my coiled complexities intrigue rather than repulse.

Another excerpt:

Tilk snorts. “The best lies, woven from truth.” He sighs and looks up at the ceiling more than a half dozen mrets overhead. “We don’t have soothsayers anymore. When I was young, Ben took me to see a retired one. He’d reinvented himself as an information broker, selling truth for tokens. I remember Ben started off criticizing, but stopped and looked back at me. Shrugging, he said, ‘So it spins’. Then the thing I took away, the advice that stuck that day, came from that broken soothsayer. ‘When the truth gets too complicated, any simple lie will do’. What do you think he meant man child?”

Reasonably HostileRelatable experience.

I’ve already described the ship as a village in space. With this post I hope to show that it is relatable to workplace experience. Immersion is key for sci-fi to ease people into the fantastic.

Of course the management we know at our jobs wouldn’t have us tortured and killed, but they might make us go to trainings we wish we could die to escape. They also might question our actions against a “reasonable person” standard that they won’t clearly define.

Psycho Pass careful about what we say in the workplace can feel like thought policing. This was balanced by the ability to go home and set aside some inhibitions. Now people are fired for actions on social media. For many the constraints of the workplace never leave them.

If you have a job you don’t enjoy and it invades your dreams, then you are imprisoned.

Here’s a final excerpt:

“I’ll just hug you close like a good clingy girlfriend.”

“What if they’re your baby poff boys? Technically frontal hugs break public affection guidelines.”

She rolls her eyes. “Guideline not rule. You said ‘I veer from guidelines’. So veer me tight, and if Eastman and Pho are present I’ll turn and be sociable. And if they confess to having to take me in for questioning, then I will just stomp your foot and run. Simple.”

“And why stomp my foot?”

She hugs him tightly. “The boys are in great shape. I’d never outrun them. But with a sore foot, I could maybe outrun you. Then they catch you, and you fight them heroically while I escape.” She rubs his back and kisses his chest. “And while they torture you with stun sticks and endless double speak, you stay strong and true to your love for me. You say the countercoup was all your idea and that you dragged me along because I was too innocent and in love to know better.”

Is it reasonable to disagree when you don’t have power.

In my story a reasonable person does not question the authority. Human resources enforces the status quo, which happens to have them in charge.

Rebelling against a system that can’t be changed from within is a dirty process. I’m thankful to live in a democracy that allows for peaceful corrections of a dysfunctional state.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.